Still basking in the euphoria of its recent successes, Bolanle Austen-Peters Productions is adding another feat to its laurels as it announces that it has secured the rights to produce a biopic of Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, the legendary mother of Afrobeat creator, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.
Last week was very eventful for the Lagos-based production company owned by lawyer-turned-creative entrepreneur, Bolanle Austen-Peters.
The outfit’s flagship stage production, Fela & The Kalakuta Queens was staged in Dubai, UAE as part of the ongoing Dubai Expo, while its latest film, Collision Course, premiered as the closing film of the just-concluded African International Film Festival (AFRIFF).
The same film picked the best Actor award at AFRIFF after garnering four nominations at the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA).
The right to Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti’s biopic, according to the statement came “from the Estate of FRK.”
To be directed by Bolanle Austen-Peters herself, the movie will have cameo appearances by Funmilayo’s grandchildren, representing their own parents.
With a working title FUNMILAYO: THE LIONESS OF LISABI, the film is intended to hit the big screen at the end of 2022 or early 2023 as shoting will commence in January.
According to Mrs Austen-Peters, “having directed the stage version of the story of great women such as QUEEN MOREMI, OLURONBI as well as FELA AND THE KALAKUTA QUEENS (the story of the 27 women that danced with and married Fela), which is presently acquired by STER Kinekor and being aired as a screen play in cinemas across South Africa; I am interested in telling the story of this phenomenal woman, Funmilayo.
“She was a woman with many parts and was first in many things. She was the first girl to attend an all-boys school, first woman to drive a car in Western Nigeria, a political activist who fought for the rights of women; first woman to found a political party and in the process confronted traditional and colonial authorities in unprecedented mass protests.
“Apart from these, she was a loving wife and mother who raised four successful children amongst whom was Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.”
According to the director, her life is an inspirational story, saying “we need positive role modeling for young African women and the world at large. At BAP Productions, we believe in telling uniquely African stories. This is a story of a brave and courageous woman, a leader, an activist and a family woman.”
FUNMILAYO; LIONESS OF LISABI is following the success of other productions from the stables of Bolanle Austen-Peters Production, including: 93 Days which was screened at several international film festivals like the Toronto International Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, Pan African Film Festival, Los Angeles Film Festival, San Francisco Film Festival, African Film Festival Cologne and Johannesburg Film Festival, winning an award at the festival in Los Angeles.
The Bling Lagosians which was credited as being one of the highest grossing films of 2019, and also acknowledged by Netflix as one of the films whose performance ignited their interest in Nigeria and the successful production of two more films; Collision Course and MOG(Man of God) which have started garnering awards.